The Darker Side of the Indiana Dunes

2Lincoln’s Corpse and the Dunes


No person, and certainly no president, has ever suffered as much after death as Abraham Lincoln. Since his assassination in 1865, his coffin has been moved 17 times, and opened five times to confirm his identity, with the final ID made in 1901. But why put the nation’s most respected president through such indignity?

Primarily because two unscrupulous men, in a burst of morbid inspiration, decided to steal Lincoln’s entombed body in Springfield and ransom it. Until receiving the ransom, they’d bury Lincoln’s body among the miles of sand dunes in northern Indiana.

As darkly-inspired as that might have been, neither man boasted intelligence to match. In a drunken stupor, the plan leaked, the kidnapping was foiled just as they were hauling his coffin from the tomb. Even with the robbers jailed, Lincoln’s caretakers always worried his body would be removed again.